Certification Policies

2018/2019 Certification Policies

A Qualified applicant will:

  • Be a resident of Howard County and at least 18 years old.
  • Be proficient in basic computer skills such as Microsoft Office, internet browsing and be willing to learn new programs.
  • Be able to serve as a community resource for environmental and watershed information.
  • Complete the Master Watershed Steward Certification course.
  • Attend class sessions listed below.
  • Complete an Action Project.
  • Be willing to maintain certification in subsequent years.

Attendance Policy

The Academy encourages attendance at all the training classes and field trips. (Please see the Planned Schedule.) We maintain the following policy for missed classes.

Stewards who miss up to two classes due to pre-scheduled conflicts (as reported to the WSA Coordinators, at the time of interview) or illness/injury/emergency may make up class material as determined by the Academy Coordinators (e.g., by partnering with a Steward who attended a session, by reading background material or by attending a make-up activity). It is the responsibility of the Steward to make up missed classes by contacting another Steward to obtain materials and review coursework. Although we will make reasonable efforts to assist the Steward in make-up of a missed class, this may not always be possible. If a person misses more than two classes, the candidate is unlikely to receive certification at the end of the course. Exceptions to this policy will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Homework Policy

A WSA participant can expect to have reading assignments, problems to be solved illustrating Geographic Information System  GIS concepts, and assignments in design of Storm Water Management (SWM) practices. You will be responsible for presenting at least one short talk about a SWM issue of your choosing.

Class Project

The class, as a group, will design, plan and install a storm water management project.

Action Projects

Working in small groups, you and your classmates will complete Action Projects, incorporating 1) assessment of storm water problems of the chosen watershed and 2) community engagement to mitigate the problems. Action Projects must be completed by October 31, 2017.

Required elements of the Action Project:

Explore your Sub-watershed. Perform an assessment in your chosen sub-watershed or neighborhood utilizing the watershed assessment tools presented in a training session and GIS mapping applications presented in the coursework other sessions. Summarize the results of your assessments in your action project proposal.

Engage your Community. You and your teammates will engage and educate community stakeholders on relevant environmental issues and possible solutions. Use a variety of outreach efforts tailored to your community’s specific demographics and needs

Move to Action. Your team will create and execute a community-based action project chosen from the needs identified in your community assessment. The project will incorporate feedback obtained from community stakeholders through your community engagement activities. Action projects should be focused in at least two areas:

Reduction of Pollution at its Source. Your team will create and execute a strategy for reducing pollutants introduced to the environment in your neighborhood, using the results of your neighborhood assessments and feedback from community engagement events. Each action project should include one such strategy (i.e. reducing nutrient run-off  from pet waste, or fertilizers; reducing pollution from pesticides).

Reduction of Storm Water Runoff. Your team will complete landscaping projects that will reduce or slow the flow of storm water off developed landscapes. These could include rain gardens, tree plantings, rain barrels or conservation landscapes.

Inclement Weather Policy

  • Howard County WSA classes will be canceled if Howard County Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather.
  • The field classes have outdoor components that will be held rain or shine. Participants should arrive for these classes prepared to be comfortable in the outdoors (proper footwear, sunscreen, rain gear, water bottles, etc.).

Requirements for Annual Maintenance of Certification:

  • Provide 40 hours of community service for watershed actions similar to those provided during completing of the action project.
  • Complete 10 hours of continuing education activities.
  • Attend Watershed Steward networking opportunities (to be specified).